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I'm getting ready to start putting together my first layout. I'm a REAL beginner, mind you; I don't even know what scale/gauge I want to use, except definitely not G and probably not Z. I can probably devote a 4x8 foot space to this. So I'm looking for input about what scale I should start out with.

Probably I want to do N, HO, O, or S, I guess, but I'd welcome any input.

Also, how interchangeable are the track and rolling stock from different manufacturers? Like, will all HO scale stuff work together, or do I have to commit to one manufacturer and stick with them?

thanks for any input and advice.

Bob
 

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A 4' by 8' O scale layout is basically the smallest O scale layout possible, so you will probably want to take the step down to HO scale or N scale... With HO scale not everything will be compatible because different makers used different types of trucks, but they are not hard to convert from one type to another... As far as track goes, basically you are going to have to pick one manufacturer and stick with them as they are not compatible...
 

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Bob,

NMRA ,many years ago, set manufacturing standards and tolerance as well s standards for the hobbyist. Such thins as rail height, flange widths for the wheels, track spacing on layouts, ect. This was a great thing for us in the hobby. It allowed us to use different manufacturers on our layouts. It also was a boon for the manufacturers, allow their product to be used universally by the train modeling hobby.

I disagree with B&M as far as the usage of different manufacturers of track being incompatible. I use Atlas FlexTrack for the most part. But I have sections where I used Shinohara track and my switches are Walthers, manufactured by Shinohara. I have no problems with compatibility. I am HO, While he models O gauge, and this may make a difference.

If something is said to be NMRA compliant or certified, you should have no problems modeling as long as you stay with the same scale or gauge. Z-scale is not compatible with O, nor is HO compatible with N-scale.

As far as trucks on HO, the wheels and flanges are usually interchangeable. Truck configuration may be different. Some use a conventional truck, where the couple is not attached to the wheelset but rather the body of the unit. Others use what is call a Talgo truck where the coupler is attached to the wheelset. Many longer cars use talgos. It does help deter derailings of some cars. It doesn't look as realistic, but sure beats putting cars back on the rails constantly.

Bob
 

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Schizophrenic Engineer
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I agree with Stationmaster. I run a lot of different manufactures of track. On thing that is important is the "code" of track. I will leave that to others that know more about code than me. I use code 100. not realistic but it works well with my old trains.

I do have some rolling stock that do not work well with most of the others, but that dose not mater because I just run them with the ones that so.
 

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So many choices.

What scale? What do you want? What interests you? History, model making, a specific line or area.Then, there is running, switching, a turntable. You could join a club and build a module. It fits a small space and you can run a large layout at shows and meets.Four by eight is limiting, but what look do you want? You can hand make everthing or buy it all in a day. How many trains do you want to run at once. I am just saying scale is for convienence. Realism isn't always a priority. Various options exist. With a club you also work on and run on other members layouts.
Bob
Track is going downhill fast. Especially in O scale, tubular, fasttrak,and the atlas sorta hidden third rail.
 

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this is quite old thread, found it while searching for my next question and i'd guess the OP will not mind me using it at this point :)

while i'm almost but set on HO scale, the track code is still bothering me. it seems to me that 100 is the "mainstream" code for HO, meaning it the default code and modeler needs to specify little bit extra to use anything else.
i would want to go with the most used option. is it 100 then? basically, if i'm to get bunch of unspecified code track (ie from ebay) would you say chances are that it is code 100?
what other considerations are there when picking ho track code?

thanks!
 

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Normally, the seller will state that the track is Code 100. Code 83, or such.... Ask the seller before bidding to make sure. Also, stay with nickel silver track. It oxidizes less and needs less maintenance when compared to steel or brass.

Bob
normally he will but not always. there are couple auctions (one of them i won) that says "hey , here is bunch of HO track". so if lets say 70% of modellers use 100 i have very good chance of this lot being a 100. so the question is more "which code is mostly used"? or is it incorrect q?

and if worst comes to worst and i won wrong code i'll just use it for scenery and such at later point. i can take a chance and waste the 12$...
 

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To 4x8, or not

I'm getting ready to start putting together my first layout. I'm a REAL beginner, mind you; I don't even know what scale/gauge I want to use, except definitely not G and probably not Z. I can probably devote a 4x8 foot space to this. So I'm looking for input about what scale I should start out with.

Probably I want to do N, HO, O, or S, I guess, but I'd welcome any input.

Also, how interchangeable are the track and rolling stock from different manufacturers? Like, will all HO scale stuff work together, or do I have to commit to one manufacturer and stick with them?

thanks for any input and advice.

Bob
Bob;

It's possible to build a very simple layout, one oval, two concentric ovals, or figure eight/ oval combo in HO-scale, or N-scale on a 4'x8' sheet of plywood and/or extruded foam insulation board. Though hundreds of layouts have been built on 4x8s, in my opinion it's not the best shape for a model railroad. Real railroads are miles long but along most of those miles, only about 100' wide. A shelf layout, built along one, two. or more of the walls of a room, is much closer to the shape of a real railroad's "Right of way." (The actual land the railroad is built on)

Is such a shelf layout possible in your situation? If so I think you may be much happier, in the long run, with this kind of model railroad. For more information on this and many other model railroad subjects, check out the pdf files below.

good luck with whatever you choose;

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment Where do I start (revised version).pdf

View attachment How to better model railroad the first time. Part 1.pdf

View attachment Model Railroad Terminology 2.1.pdf
 

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Or, so frustrated that he found a different hobby! :laugh:

He only has 5 posts in over 9 years, so.......
 

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Um, Traction - this thread is from 2009. He's probably well on his way by now.
How does one dredge up a 9 year old thread, anyway? It must have been buried dozens of pages down the thread list...
 

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So, to be even more nit-picky, is that the same as saying he has had 5 posts in a little over 9 years? :laugh:

The result seems to be the same.....
 

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Good question

How does one dredge up a 9 year old thread, anyway? It must have been buried dozens of pages down the thread list...
That's a very good question. I wonder if admin can tell us why these old threads keep showing up listed up with current ones. Not trying to duck blame for my own mistake of answering a nine year old question, but why was it there at all?

Traction Fan:smilie_daumenpos:
 
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